Monday, September 8, 2008

Injection 52

Sunday, September 7, 2008, I injected my 52nd shot of interferon. My 52nd year was a huge challenge. I thought 2004 was the year from hell, but 2007 really kicked the shit out of 2004. I had my blood drawn on December 4, 2006 for a life insurance policy after years of refusing to buy one. My husband bought them for 30 years of marriage and every once in a while the insurance broker and husband would try to talk me into getting a policy. I fought it until we bought our new home and the bank wouldn’t insure our loan because we were “of an age”. I was brow beaten into applying for it. Now, I realize it may prolong my life.

My doc called me on December 18th at work to tell me that the insurance company contacted him that I tested positive for Hep C. I was gob smacked. He wanted to check all my hospital records to see if I had a blood transfusion. I was reeling from this diagnosis. I immediately went to get the anti-body test done again along with the confirming test to determine if I actually had the virus in my blood. It took from December 18, 2006 to January 27, 2007, to get the results back from my second confirming test. I was livid that I was left so long waiting for the results. It was pure agony waiting to see if I were one of the damned, but I was disbelieving that it couldn’t even be possible. I was did not live what the doc called a “high risk” lifestyle. Doc checked my records at the hospital and, of course, I had no record of blood transfusions from all my surgeries I had over the years. I had many surgeries and medical procedures done over the years.

“Did you ever inject drugs, Rose? You know that you only had to do it once.” I was sitting in his office in total shock not even really understanding what he was implying. It was my first smack with the “stigma” attached to hep C. I lived in Smallville all my life. I did not use drugs. I didn’t know anyone that used intravenous drugs! It was just not my lifestyle and I do not judge those who do have that lifestyle. I have my own skeletons in my closet and I’m far from perfect, however, my lifestyle did not involve injecting intravenous drugs.

I don’t think I’ll ever recover from the instant feeling of being a pariah from society. I was given the immediate flick by the insurance company. Insurance provider was confused to why they wouldn’t give me the insurance because he has known me since I was a child and I was a healthy person. I was the picture of health for a 52 year old. I was long distance running and I was in excellent shape. I was on top of my game.

I was also pestered by the bone marrow donation registry wondering why I wanted to remove my name from their list. “We like to know the reasons for people taking their names off the list…it is private and no one will have access to the info” I was still shell shocked with the diagnosis and I reluctantly told her I was diagnosed with Hep C and she shut down on me as if I told her to “go to hell”. She was curt and abrupt and indicated that it was one of the reasons for not being an acceptable candidate for being a bone marrow donor (DUH! Like I didn’t realize that????)…thank you very much…and I received a “PFO” (Please F*ck Off) letter from the bone marrow registry, too. I just notified the bone marrow registry out of courtesy because I happened to get an “update your info” letter from them at the time. Now, I know that I should have not bothered as the odds wouldn’t be very good for me to match with anyone. I would have dealt with that dilemma if it had of happened and the odds just weren’t there. Hep C took that option away from me, too. I cannot donate bone marrow to anyone.

I was jerked around by the department of health and I was led to believe that I had to call them because they were looking for me and I had to be registered with them. I found out later that I didn’t even have to call them and talk to them. I wouldn’t have if I had of known that then as I thought I was obligated by law. It was interesting that the health dept nurse was more interested in my life style habits and once I indicated that I had pierced ears done years ago and she accepted that as point of transmission. Not the fact that I grew up in the 50’s, 60’s,70’s and 80’s and was exposed to every manner of blood letting through medical and dental surgery, inoculations, etc.

I knew that the Department of Health was grasping for reasons and justifying that it was something I did to myself. I had my ears pierced, therefore, that's where I picked up Hep C.

My self-diagnosis is that I am so bitter that I do not know where I acquired the virus or when along with the fact that most of medical community have their heads up their arses regarding Hep C.

I had no one to turn to, no one I could trust for support other than my immediate family. I was a lost soul. I can still be lost with Hep C because it’s such a lonely diagnosis. For survival in a small community I have chosen to keep it secret at this time.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Injection 51

Injection 51 last Sunday night, August 31, and I’m currently working on week 51 pills.

At 51 years of age I moved from a home I lived in for decades. However, the week I was supposed to move I was dinged with a major breast biopsy which turned out OK. Phew! I dodged that bullet, however, I had to keep that secret because I didn’t want my Mom to find out that I had to have that done. I got through that along with the rellies from hell turning up at the house within a few weeks of my operation and moving and deciding that they would stay with me for three weeks instead of going to their designated place they were supposed to stay…because it was so nice and they wanted to stay in our new home. They already lined up a place prior to arriving at my home. I was not prepared for anyone to stay in my new home within two weeks of moving in. My other local rellies were horrified and kept trying to get the “guests’ to stay with them, but, they would not. I was a wreck. I was unable to move in properly as I was forced to entertain and accommodate two people who needed their own beds. I did not have any extra beds so they slept on my couches (…that is death to any couch). I was a wreck from just having breast surgery (where you are NOT allowed to do anything that involves using your arms to even lift a book) .

IThen I got dinged with the Hep C diagnosis when my husband and insurance provider finally brow beat me into having a life insurance policy because I was no longer a young thing and the bank wouldn’t provide it on our mortgage. The first Hep C test came back positive on December 18, 2006 and my Smallville doctor was notified. He was doubtful that I had it. “Must be a false positive, Rose!” Well, the rest is history and I was discriminated against horrendously. I got the immediate rejection notice and my down payment returned the week before Christmas. Here I was going along with my life in Smallville and now I was being treated as an outcast.

My 51 year just kept getting better and better with angst. The health care system was shitty because I had to wait forever to be seen following a diagnoses with a chronic illness. I waited months to get the second Hep C test results. Then I waited months to get treatment which I had to fight viciously to try and the only reason I was “allowed” to treat is because I had a health care plan.

Bring it on! I’ll not back down.